Top News

Marystown has big plans for a very big gift

A large and valuable collection of model ships, including those pictured here, has been donated to the Town of Marystown. DAVID RICHARD MCCANN/FACEBOOK
A large and valuable collection of model ships, including those pictured here, has been donated to the Town of Marystown. - DAVID RICHARD MCCANN/FACEBOOK

Town planning ‘ultra-modern’ museum based around $1.5-million model boat collection donation, mayor says

MARYSTOWN, N.L. —

Some expensive model boats are headed to Marystown.

The Town of Marystown has accepted a collection of boats that had belonged to architect John Keith-King.

According to a Facebook post by David Richard McCann on May 8, he was asked by Keith-King’s family to coordinate the donation of the boats to a museum.

McCann described himself as a good friend of Keith-King, who he said had died several years ago.

The collection is valued at $1.5-million, according to Marystown Mayor Sam Synard.

“These are world-class exhibits,” Synard told The Southern Gazette.

Synard, who indicated he has been the town’s main point person with respect to the donation, said he was contacted about the potential gift around four months ago and it went from there.

The model boats, now located in British Columbia, will arrive in Marystown over the summer, he said.

Museum plans

There are some valuable pieces in Keith-King’s collection, according to the mayor.

A replica of the German battleship Bismarck is professionally appraised at $190,000, he said, while another of the British battlecruiser HMS Hood – sank by the Bismarck during the Second World War – is worth $150,000. The latter has a connection to the province, Synard said.

“When I started to do some research on it, there were 15 Newfoundlanders on the Hood who died,” he said.

Synard told The Gazette he envisions the town eventually creating a museum to house the collection.

He even has a name in mind – the Marystown Maritime Museum – and believes the town shouldn’t have any problems finding the funding necessary to construct a “really ultra-modern museum based on a marine museum concept.”

As part of that, Synard said the idea is also to include the town’s history of shipbuilding by tracking down replicas of each of the 50 or so vessels built at the Marystown Shipyard. For those that can’t be found, he said models will be made.

“On the one hand we’ll have an international display of model ships … and in that room, we’ll have a model of every ship ever built in Marystown, as well as its history,” Synard said.

Excluding places like The Rooms in St. John’s, Synard said he foresees the attraction as being right up there with the best museums in the province.

“We really have got to accept this gift with a sense of respect and reverence and really make sure 50 years down the road someone else continues to enjoy (it),” he said.

paul.herridge@southerngazette.ca

Recent Stories